Sisterhood Blog

Maybe That Murray Hill Video Isn't So Funny, After All

By Margaret Teich

  • Print
  • Share Share

Humor is a great way to begin tough conversations — ones that might lead to healing and understanding identity. As Jews, we know this as well as anyone; just look at our long tradition of conspicuously Jewish comedians who joke about identity.

That is why, at first glance, the “Murray Hill” YouTube parody video seems like any other sort of Jewish comedy; it’s critical and hella funny. The video, which accompanies the acoustic-campy tune by one DJ Lubel, describes in detail the cultural milieu that is Murray Hill — a heavily Jewish, Long Island-infused Manhattan neighborhood that is popular with recent college grads.

At first, the lyrics seem to mention, rather innocuously, the Jewish summer camps so many Murray Hill residents went to — as well as the top-tier universities they attended, and bars they now frequent.

However, there was a point in the video when I stopped laughing: And that’s when DJ Lubel begins singing about the Murray Hill’s so-called JAPS — spoiled Jewish girls with low self-esteem, gold-digging ambitions, poor sexual health and consumerist obsessions. Not to mention serious eating disorders: “Girl, I know you want that real estate lawyer/But there’s no need for an eating disorder/Because tasti D lite for breakfast lunch and dinner is not healthy … You need more calories,” DJ Lubel raps.

And while Lubel talks about the avaricious-investment banker dude stereotype of Murray Hill, it was the portrayal of the Jewish women really hit home for me. Perhaps, that’s because many of the characterizations seem so accurate.

I had a similar gut-reaction to Kanye West’s “The New Workout Plan” song and video when it came out several years ago. Like DJ Lubel, Kanye speaks to a specific (female) population that wants to, “pull a rapper, a NBA player man, at least a dude wit’ a car,” and to do so, must get her “body right.” He raps: “Tuck your tummy tight and do your crunches like this… Give head, stop breathe, get up, check your weave.”

So I find myself moving between loving and hating these videos — between laughing at them and reproaching myself for doing so.

While they use humor to address issues of priorities that women should examine, is Kanye the person to do that in the case of the women portrayed in “The New Workout Plan”? And is DJ Lubel the person to expose many of Murray Hill’s Jewish women for what they are — even if it involves some creative hyperbole?


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Kanye West, J Lubel, Eating Disorders, Murray Hill

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
JB Mon. May 4, 2009

I think it's good that you have people like DJ Lubel making social commentaries. I used to live in Kips Bay, basically Murray Hill, and it's pretty true about the guys and girls. I don't know if he needs to go into the whole eating disorder thing, but as far as their jappy additude, it's spot on. I'm Jewish, and would love to find a cool Jewish girl, but I'm looking for someone who is not the the murray hill stereotype...and it's damn hard. They're too high maintenance for me, and just clones of each other with their Juicy Couture sweats and LV handbags.




Find us on Facebook!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.